Coach K and Condoleezza Rice at Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2013

I am taking time this week to share my notes from last Friday’s Chick-fil-A Leadercast. ¬†I really enjoyed learning from Coach K (Coach of Duke Basketball and Team USA) and¬†Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State). ¬†Take some time to reflect on these insights from a couple of highly successful leaders!

Coach K on Communication and Managing Egos

  • Leaders create a culture of success in which every job is important. ¬†Coach K never delegates, only empowers.
  • The most important part of leadership is communication.
  • Rule on the U.S. Olympic Team: ¬†Always make eye contact when we’re talking with each other.
  • In order to have trust on a team,¬†¬†you must always tell the truth and expect the truth.
  • Everyone said his first U.S. Olympic Team players were too egotistical to play together. ¬†Coach K told them to bring their egos with them. ¬†But to turn their personal egos into a collective team ego.
  • Rules do not lead and they are not owned by the people who are given them. ¬†Standards are owned by a team and allow team members to hold each other accountable.
  • Coach K held a meeting with a team to develop standards. ¬†He did not create the standards for them. ¬†He asked them what standards they wanted to hold each other accountable to. ¬†Team members created and enforced the standards for themselves.

Condoleezza Rice on Leading in Complexity and Finding Balance

  • In the midst of complexity, ask, “What is the one thing I can do to change the direction of this conversation, negotiation, or situation?”
  • To create energy and positivity during difficult situations, help people see times in the past when great things came out of difficult situations.
  • The first thing a leader can do to make a difference: Be right with yourself. And be right with God. ¬†Without that core of integrity, people will see through you.
  • No matter your role, it is important to take breaks. ¬†Condoleezza takes an intentional break on Sundays.
  • If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of the people you lead.
  • You must put balance and rest on your schedule.
  • Condoleezza¬†watched her grandmother find peace in any situation based on the idea of “God’s will be done.”
  • On finding peace:¬† Leaders say, “Don’t just stand there, do something.” ¬†Sometimes a leader has to say to self, “Don’t do something, just stand there.”

Which of these insights stands out to you most? ¬†I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Read notes from Andy Stanley’s session here.


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Ryan Stigile